Official GM ignition switch death toll rises to 64

Settlement fund counts 64 deaths and 108 injuries, with more claims under review.

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Getty ImagesRaymond Boyd

Five weeks after General Motors to new applicants, administrator Kenneth Feinberg has tallied up 13 more deaths and 30 more injuries related to ignition-switch defects the automaker admitted to hiding for 13 years.

So far, the settlement fund—estimated to pay out between $400 million and $600 million—has now counted 64 deaths and 108 injuries from 4343 claims submitted since August. Another 1571 claims are currently being reviewed, including 1415 injuries and 156 deaths. A further 781 claims are awaiting documentation and likely will be denied without proper proof.

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GM still faces stacks of related ignition-switch lawsuits that are seeking many times what it promised to pay in the settlement fund. U.S. Bankruptcy judge Robert Gerber is undecided on whether the roughly 178 individual and class-action cases should proceed against GM. Gerber had approved GM's 2009 bankruptcy order which shields the current company from earlier liabilities and would only pay out pennies on the dollar for any cases that were ruled in favor of the complainants. During a hearing last month, Gerber said the original sale order read like a "get-out-of-jail free card" but questioned why these plaintiffs, many of them alleging economic rather than physical harm, should be allowed to sue the current company. Gerber could take another several months before he reaches a decision.

New York judge Jesse Furman also has yet to decide when those cases—which in total allege damages —will be tried before a single court. Another 17 class-action lawsuits in Canada and investigations by 48 state attorneys general are . The Department of Justice is also against GM.

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